FACT CHECK; Email Wrong about Politics of Mass Killers Conservative Talk Show Host Said Progressive Liberalism to Blame

Article excerpt

Byline: Carole Fader

Times-Union readers want to know:

An email says that recent mass killers were all progressive liberals and most were registered Democrats. Is that true?

The viral email lists the shooters in the killings at Fort Hood, Columbine High School, Virginia Tech, Aurora, Colo. and Newtown, Conn., as being registered Democrats. "Instead of registering and banning firearms," the email says,"possibly we should register and ban progressive liberal Democrats."

A look at what's known about the suspects pretty much debunks this viral email.

The information in the email seems to have originated with Roger Hedgecock, a former mayor of San Diego and now a lobbyist, lecturer and conservative radio talk show host. In his radio broadcast, Hedgecock did not provide any evidence in any of the cases, making assumptions in some and inaccuracies in others.

The email assigns a Democrat tag to Adam Lanza, the Newtown, Conn., shooter, because, it says, Connecticut has almost twice as many registered Democrats as Republicans. That is true (815,713 to 449,648, according to the latest state records) and it is also true that President Barack Obama carried Connecticut in the past two presidential elections.

But to assume that Lanza was a Democrat because of that makes an awfully large reach. Incidentally, as of the last election, there were 5,364 people registered as Republicans in Newtown, and 4,505 registered as Democrats. And Newtown went for Mitt Romney 51.7 percent to 47 percent, according to official election results.

NO PARTY TAGS IN VIRGINIA OR TEXAS

There is no proof of Fort Hood suspect Nidal Hasan's political affiliation. He registered to vote in Roanoke County, Va., where he lived before being sent to Fort Hood, according to a Nov. 9, 2009, story in the Roanoke Times. Virginia does not allow registration by party, so he wouldn't have been registered as a Democrat.

Hasan could have registered in Texas when sent to Fort Hood, but Texas also does not register by party. If he voted in the Democratic primary in Texas, that would be his affiliation until a general election, in which he could have voted for whomever he wished, according to Texas voting law. …